Kubuntu 23.04: Best New Features

4 min

A summary of the new features and updates of Kubuntu 23.04 (upcoming) release brings performance, security updates and more.

Kubuntu 23.04 Lunar Lobster Desktop
Kubuntu 23.04 Lunar Lobster Desktop

Among all Ubuntu’s official flavours, Kubuntu is the most popular among its users. The primary reason is the KDE Plasma desktop which brings out-of-the-box experience for beginners to power users.

Kubuntu 23.04 is the latest version of the distribution, built upon the Ubuntu 23.04 “Lunar Lobster” release. It is currently undergoing BETA testing.

In addition, it is a short-term release supported for nine months from the release. Since short-term releases are to adopt the latest technologies, removing the obsolete ones, its features list is moderate.

Let’s have a look.

Kubuntu 23.04: Best Features

If you are using Kubuntu 22.10 or earlier versions, you can spot many differences in the KDE Plasma desktop.

For example, Kubuntu 22.10 (the last version) featured KDE Plasma 5.25, which missed Plasma 5.26 for the schedule conflicts. However, Kubuntu 23.04 features KDE Plasma 5.27, which is the latest plasma release.

KDE Plasma 5.27 is the last version of the “Plasma 5” series and it’s significantly feature rich and continues to be supported for a couple of years until “Plasma 6” is stable.

Wayland & display

Kubuntu 23.04 now supports high-resolution scrolling in Wayland, thanks to libinput 1.9 version changes. With this change, you should experience smooth scrolling performance in Chrome and Firefox browsers. I hope this makes it on par with the Windows experience.

Another Wayland fix which comes via Plasma 5.27 to this release is the inclusion of the Wayland implementation of idle notification protocol. In the Wayland session, if you become idle, the data can now be consumed by various apps and modules to save power, change the status in messaging apps, etc.

Wayland session in Kubuntu desktop also brings content type. This allows Kwin to tweak the display behaviour (direct scanout, variable refresh rate, etc.) based on the content displayed on the screen. So, you should get an optimized session based on whether you are watching a movie, playing games or casually browsing the web.

Kubuntu 23.04 Wayland session now supports fractional scaling natively. The upstream Wayland change for this was merged a few months back in 2022. You should get native resolution options in Wayland sessions. If you are a multi-monitor user, you should be glad to know that the settings to manage multiple displays are now easily accessible via the system tray display configuration.

Multiple display configuration is now available from system tray
Multiple display configuration is now available from the system tray

Desktop, Krunner and Accessibility

We all love Krunner, the most amazing launcher ever!

As part of this release, Krunner now searches for the key in any part of the file name in the recent document list. It sorts the result from the best match, starting with the search key in the file name to the bottom.

Furthermore, when no matches are available, Krunner intelligently prompts you for a web search with the search string.

Krunner is great
Krunner is great

Among other notable features, Kubuntu 23.04 allows you to drag and drop images from the wallpaper window to the Gwenview image viewer. It might be a simple change. But it definitely eases up several workflows if you deal with many images and wallpapers.

The Users settings page, fingerprint register, and authentication selection are more visually attractive with an actual hand image.

New Visual cue for fingerprint
New Visual cue for fingerprint – Image Credit: KDE Team

The accessibility of KDE Plasma is now more robust because the Orca screenreader app can read the notifications. It includes the app name and the notification description.


A few key changes you might notice in the Kubuntu software manager Discover in 23.04.

Firstly, the Flatpak application view now shows more permissions entries that an app needs. A new settings page lists all the installed Flatpak and its permissions.

Flatpak Permission in Discover
Flatpak Permission in Discover

Secondly, Discover now waits a few moments before checking updates for Flatpak. While it waits, it shows the locally cached Flatpak data.

Thirdly, the Discover home is revamped. Honestly, it was due for a long time. Now it looks far better with the popular apps, editor’s choice and other categories.

Discover homepage now revamped
Discover homepage is now revamped.

Snap and Flatpak

A few days back, the Ubuntu team announced that Flatpak would not be included by default for all the official distributions, including Kubuntu. So, Kubuntu used to have Flatpak by default. But from Kubuntu 23.04 onwards, it won’t be.

Since Discover brings many additional features, mainly for Flatpak, it’s necessary to integrate it with Flatpak in your system. However, you can easily install it and integrate Discover all using the following commands. A detailed instructions to set up Flatpak & Flathub is available here.

sudo apt install flatpak plasma-discover-backend-flatpak
flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

That said, Snap is included by default, including key apps like Firefox in this release.

Kubuntu 23.04 comes with Snap and no Flatpak
Kubuntu 23.04 comes with Snap and no Flatpak

Core updates and summary

At the core, Kubuntu 23.04 is powered by Linux Kernel 6.2, which is the latest mainline Kernel available at this moment. Here’s the summary of the core packages and applications:

Based on Ubuntu 23.04 “Lunar Lobster”

In addition, the newly launched welcome screen for the Plasma 5.27 desktop is unavailable in Kubuntu 23.04. Also, the VLC media player is dropped from the default install of Kubuntu.

Finally, you can download Kubuntu 23.04 ISO (beta) from the below links.

You can try it on a virtual machine, Or a physical system. The final release is expected on April 20, 2023.


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